I was at the Hallmark Ornament Preview Event over the weekend.  A woman was purchasing #38 in a series of ornaments.  (For the uninitiated, this means she has been buying one in this series every year for nearly four decades.)

Instead of being excited by her purchase, she was lamenting the fate of it.  “I have been collecting these ornaments for my children since they were born,” she said.  “And my daughter told me that she doesn’t want them; in fact, if I give them to her, she will turn around and sell them on eBay!” 

It’s not that the daughter is (intentionally) heartless.  Her rationale: she doesn’t want to dust.  

Think of all the memories that are now shared in virtual form instead of 3D.  All the Hummels, Precious Moments, china and knick-knacks that filled Grandma’s curio cabinets are gone.  That statuette that was passed down for generations is now, at best, a photo on Instagram or pinned on Pintrest.  

Dusting is an awful job; no getting around it.  But some of the things it accumulates on can be symbols of love.  

No one ever hugged a computer in the time of grief or passed a file to their offspring to cherish.  Think about what you can make room for in your physical life then clear a shelf for a few tangible symbols that are worthy of an occasional brush with the feather duster.

— beth triplett

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